New version of National Anthem to be unveiled tomorrow
Update is part of 60th anniversary celebrations of Singapore's national symbols
The National Anthem, Majulah Singapura (Onward Singapore in Malay), will be updated as part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of Singapore's national symbols.
The new version is a rendition by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu said yesterday morning.
It will be revealed tomorrow as part of a commemoration ceremony for the 60th anniversary of the anthem, the national flag and the state crest, Ms Fu said on the sidelines of the One Community Fiesta family sports carnival held at Jurong Lake Gardens.
This will be the first update to the National Anthem since the current version was recorded in 2001. Majulah Singapura was composed in 1958 by the late Zubir Said as an official song for the City Council of Singapore.
It was based on the council's motto, "Majulah Singapura", which was translated as "May Singapore flourish" at the time.
After Singapore attained self-governance in 1959, then Deputy Prime Minister Toh Chin Chye expressed interest in adopting it as the National Anthem, which he felt should be in Malay as it was the region's indigenous language and would appeal to all races.
The song was adapted slightly and introduced as the National Anthem on Dec 3, 1959, at the City Hall Chamber. The occasion also marked the swearing-in of Mr Yusof Ishak as Singapore's first Malayan-born head of state. He later became Singapore's first President.
At a rally attended by 25,000 citizens held at the Padang, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew called for the people of Singapore to come together under the flag, anthem and state crest, and to pledge their loyalty to the new nation.
"May our new symbols endure and evoke in our hearts those sublime feelings of dedication and sacrifice to a cause bigger than our individual selves," Mr Lee told the crowd.
Yesterday, Ms Fu said the adoption of the national symbols in 1959 was an important moment for Singapore as a young nation. The symbols are an anchor of Singaporeans' national identity, she added.
"I think 60 years on, Singaporeans are wearing the flag proudly. They are singing the anthem proudly," she said.
The practice of playing the National Anthem in schools during daily flag raising and lowering ceremonies was introduced on Aug 29, 1966, weeks after the first National Day Parade.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth said the new rendition is based on the 2001 musical arrangement, which was arranged by composer and Cultural Medallion winner Phoon Yew Tien.
The new version of the National Anthem will be broadcast for the first time on all radio stations at 11.20am tomorrow, 60 years after the national symbols were first unveiled.